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Argon and the AROS (AR in Open Spaces) project for ISEA2012

September 21, 2012 at 9:57 am / by / argon, art / 0 comments

I’ve been following their work all summer, and an really excited that they are finally presenting it at ISEA 2012 (International Symposium on Electronic Art) this week!

Nettrice Gaskins and Laurie Marion (who are variously artists, designers and digital media researchers) spent part of the summer running a workshop with students in Albuquerque, NM, creating an interactive AR mural along the train corridor at the Wells Park Community Center.  (Nettrice and Laurie are students in GT’s excellent Digital Media program).

The big idea was to have the kids work on a design project that is culturally relevant to them (see http://csdt.rip.edu), to situate their learning of some underlying STEM concepts.

The focus of the project was creating an AR-interactive mural, using our Argon browser. They documented the project and process on their AROS blog, and if you are interested in the process of using AR and outdoor art to working with kids, I highly recommend checking out the whole blog. The final mural and AR overlay can be seen in this recent blog post.   You can also see pictures documenting the project on Pinterest.

Nettrice is presenting the project this week, and sent me this picture of the brochure for the Wells Park Rail Runner Mural Project that created by a group of local people in Albuquerque:

Laurie designed an insert for the brochure, to explain how to load the AR content:

As an AR researcher, I’m always excited when people do cool things with the tools we build; the idea that our browser could be used for something so important as engaging kids with art and technology is awesome. Of course, it’s also a reminder to us researchers not to get hung on the technology too much:  any technologist reading this might be “horrified” to see human-sized “AR markers” as part of a mural on the side of a building (and I will say that the upcoming version of Argon will have Qualcomm’s Vuforia image-based tracking software in it, for those who just can’t bear the thought of it).  But, for me, the idea that the technology is approachable enough that kids could build with it is what’s important, and is motivating us to make the tech better, and more approachable and usable for these sorts of projects!

Great job, Nettrice and Laurie;  I hope ISEA goes well!

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